Commission Question – Could the Commission please provide information on what action it intends to take, or has already taken, in relation to Cypriot banks selling mortgages dishonestly?

Question to the Council for written answer:

Could the Commission please provide information on what action it intends to take, or has already taken, in relation to Cypriot banks selling mortgages dishonestly?

 

Answer given by Mr Katainen on behalf of the Commission:

The pending national court procedures will show whether the Cypriot banks have infringed potential duties to inform about certain risks of a loan contract, in particular with regard to loans in a foreign currency.

The Commission is aware that real estate purchasers in Cyprus, for various reasons, did not always receive the property title immediately after payment of the purchase price. Since 2011 such purchase agreements can be registered with the Cypriot Land Registry in order to increase legal certainty for the purchaser.

In order to work towards a sustainable solution, the Cypriot authorities committed, as part of the economic adjustment programme, to establish a task force that will develop recommendations in order to address this issue.

Council Question – Could the Council please clarify a matter which constituents have raised with me concerning the changes to qualified majority voting (QMV) in Council? Are there any competences which will transfer from unanimity to QMV in November 2014? If so, could the Council please list the relevant areas?

Question to the Council for written answer:

 

Could the Council please clarify a matter which constituents have raised with me concerning the changes to qualified majority voting (QMV) in Council? Are there any competences which will transfer from unanimity to QMV in November 2014? If so, could the Council please list the relevant areas?

 

Reply:

 

As from 1 November 2014, new rules will apply for the calculation of a qualified majority in the Council. These new rules establish a system of double majority, of members and of population, instead of the currently applicable system of weighted votes of the members of the Council

The rules are set out in Article 16(4) TEU, as well as in Article 238(2) TFEU and Article 3(2) of Protocol No 36 on transitional provisions. A special rule for cases where not all members of the Council participate in voting is set out in Article 238(3) TFEU and Article 3(4) of Protocol No 36.

This change only concerns the calculation of a qualified majority in the Council and not the subject matters which are subject to qualified majority voting in the Council.

Commission Question – It has been reported in the press that the Commission paid the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) the sum of EUR 6 100 987 (GBP 4 854 039), in addition to the total of EUR 24.4 million (GBP 19 million) paid by the EU in grants to the BBC between 2007 and 2012.1 Could the Commission clarify this claim, and provide details of the purpose for which these grants were made and the thematic programme heading they fell under?

Question to the Commission for written answer

It has been reported in the press that the Commission paid the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) the sum of EUR 6 100 987 (GBP 4 854 039), in addition to the total of EUR 24.4 million (GBP 19 million) paid by the EU in grants to the BBC between 2007 and 2012.1 Could the Commission clarify this claim, and provide details of the purpose for which these grants were made and the thematic programme heading they fell under?

 

1  See: ‘Revealed: EU Hands Out Multi-Millions to the BBC and Green Lobby’, www.breitbart.com, 8 July 2014.

 

 

 

Answer given by Mr Dominik on behalf of the Commission

 

 

 

In 2013 the BBC received three payments from European Union funding relating to supporting media freedom in countries outside the European Union.

 

– Under the the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument it was awarded a  service contract of EUR 4.975.000 to train journalists and support media independence and freedom of expression in the region. A grant to the amount of EUR 1,125,986.68 implementing the 2009 Iraq Capacity Building Programme aims at consolidating media freedoms in Iraq. Finally, alongside other recipients the BBC was granted EUR 643.164 from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights Country Based Support Schemes (CBSS) for Syria, the objective being to strengthen the professional capacity of Syrian journalists, particularly in the areas of media independence and online media.

 

In addition, also in 2013 the BBC received an amount of EUR 584.374 for its part in a research project improving video quality, and an amount of EUR 5.059 for miscellaneous services supplied in accordance with the Commission’s public procurement rules.

 

The Commission would like to remind the Honourable Member that, in line with the Financial Regulation1 and its Rules of Application2, the above information, including the purpose of the grant and the programme, is freely available on the Financial Transparency Website (FTS)3.

 

Similar information is available in FTS as from financial year 2007. Please note that the names recorded and published in FTS are those originating from official documents submitted by the recipient. This formal name may differ from the one known to the general public.

 

 

1  Article 35 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 298, 26.10.2012.)

 

2  Article 21 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 (OJ L 362, 31.12.2012.)

 

3  http://ec.europa.eu/budget/fts/index_en.htm

Commission Question – Could the Commission provide details of the criteria it uses to evaluate the success (or otherwise) of EU-funded projects?

Question to the Commission for written answer

Could the Commission provide details of the criteria it uses to evaluate the success (or otherwise) of EU-funded projects?

 

 

Answer given by President Barroso on behalf of the Commission (12.9.2014)

 

 

The 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is now in place. The legal bases of the new generation of EU spending programmes under this MFF have been adopted by the co-legislators and are based upon a comprehensive performance framework. This includes general and specific objectives, quantitative and qualitative indicators measuring their achievement together with coherent arrangements for monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the programmes’ performance.

The monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework for the spending programmes under the 2014-2020 MFF has been summarised in a Staff Working Document – SWD(2014)200final – accompanying this year’s Article 318 Evaluation Report adopted on 26 June. The Staff Working Document was formally transmitted to the European Parliament and is available online at:

http://ec.europa.eu/smart-regulation/evaluation/docs/swd1_2013_en.pdf

At project level, the description of the projects supported by the EU is accompanied by a description of their expected results, which reflect the general and specific objectives of the programme in question and make it possible to determine whether the project was implemented as planned and whether the EU intervention served its intended purpose.

 

 

 

Commission Question- It has been reported in the press that the Commission paid the United Nations EUR 140 million. Could the Commission confirm or deny this claim?

Question to the Commission for written answer E-006231/2014

It has been reported in the press that the Commission paid the United Nations EUR 140 million1.  Could the Commission confirm or deny this claim?

1  See ‘Revealed: EU hands out multi-millions to the BBC and green lobby’, www.breitbart.com, 8 July 2014.

 

 

Answer given by Mr Dominik on behalf of the Commission (5.9.2014)

 

 

The Commission would like to remind the Honourable Member that, in line with the Financial Regulation1 and its Rules of Application2, the above information, including the purpose of the grant and the programme, is freely available on the Financial Transparency Website (FTS)3.

A search on the text string “united nations” returned, for financial year 2013, 20 distinct recipient entities, appearing in 121 entries in a total of 119 individual commitment positions.

In 84 instances, there was only one recipient for the commitment position, with a total committed (not paid) amount of EUR 129 million.

In 29 instances, there were multiple recipients for the commitment position. The total amount either committed or paid during financial year 2013 to recipients containing the text string “united nations” was equal to EUR 5 million.

In the remaining 8 instances, there were multiple recipients for each commitment position and the specific amount committed or paid was not available in FTS. The total amount for all recipients, including those not containing the text string “united nations”, was equal to EUR 19 million.

 

Similar information is available in FTS as from financial year 2007. Please note that the names recorded and published in FTS are those originating from official documents submitted by the recipient. This formal name may differ from the one known to the general public.

 

 

1  Article 35 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 298, 26.10.2012.)

2  Article 21 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 (OJ L 362, 31.12.2012.)

3  http://ec.europa.eu/budget/fts/index_en.htm

Commission Question- Can the Commission please provide a breakdown by UK region of total funding received from the EU in the latest financial year for which breakdown figures are available? For the same year, could the Commission please provide a hypothecated breakdown of the total contributions made to the EU budget and institutions by UK region (e.g. foreign aid)?

Question to the Commission for written answer

Can the Commission please provide a breakdown by UK region of total funding received from the EU in the latest financial year for which breakdown figures are available?

For the same year, could the Commission please provide a hypothecated breakdown of the total contributions made to the EU budget and institutions by UK region (e.g. foreign aid)?

 

Answer given by Dominik on behalf of the Commission (17.9.2014)

 

 

The Honourable Member can find information in Annex to this reply on payments made from the different segments of the Community budget in 2013 broken down, to the extent possible, by autonomous UK regions and localities.

 

A breakdown of total contributions made to the EU budget by UK regions is not available. Own resources are collected from Member States, not regions.

 

Commission Question – Carbon emissions – Brussels-Strasbourg travel, it has been reported that the carbon emissions generated by Parliament’s journey from Brussels to Strasbourg represent 20 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. What is the Commission’s estimate of the total carbon emissions generated on an annual basis by Brussels-Strasbourg travel?

Question to the Commission for written answer

Carbon emissions – Brussels-Strasbourg travel.  It has been reported that the carbon emissions generated by Parliament’s journey from Brussels to Strasbourg represent 20 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide1.

What is the Commission’s estimate of the total carbon emissions generated on an annual basis by Brussels-Strasbourg travel?

1  ‘Europe’s GBP 150m ‘travelling circus’ should be scrapped, EU vice-president says’, Daily Telegraph, 10 February 2011.

 

Answer given by Ms Hedegaard on behalf of the Commission (19.9.2014):

 

 

The Commission does not hold such data.

 

The Commission would also refer the Honourable Member to its answer to the written question E-0947/20101.

 

1  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/parliamentary-questions.html

 

Commission Question- Can the Commission please provide details of the Investor-State Dispute Mechanisms included in the proposed TTIP agreement with the USA?

Question to the Commission for written answer

Can the Commission please provide details of the Investor-State Dispute Mechanisms included in the proposed TTIP agreement with the USA?

Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission (28.8.2014)

 

A public consultation was launched on investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP). This consultation was closed on 13 July 2014 and the Commission will first evaluate the results of this consultation before any negotiations with the US on ISDS in TTIP. No concrete text proposals on ISDS have been exchanged between the negotiating teams.

 

However, the EU has already developed a practice in ISDS. ISDS is a mean of enforcing the limited investment protection standards included in an international agreement. These protect against discrimination, expropriation without compensation and unfair or inequitable treatment. These do not permit an investor to sue simply because a measure is disliked. The Commission’s approach to ISDS in general is based on the principles of a modern state-of-the art Investor-to-State dispute settlement as described in the Commission’s Communication1. It would include in particular the following elements: full transparency of documents and hearings based on UN-agreed transparency rules2; rules on ethics and possible conflicts of interest of ISDS arbitrators (i.e. a binding Code of Conduct for the arbitrators and use of a roster for the choice of the arbitrators), rules to ensure the coherence of ISDS case-law and rules which will avoid parallel proceedings and frivolous claims.

 

1  COM(2010)343 final “Towards a comprehensive European international investment policy”,7.7.2010

 

2  http://www.uncitral.org/pdf/english/texts/arbitration/rules-on-transparency/Rules-on-Transparency-E.pdf

 

Commission Question – Can the Commission confirm that under the planned TTIP multinational companies will have the right to take legal action against national governments?

Question to the Commission for written answer:

Can the Commission confirm that under the planned TTIP multinational companies will have the right to take legal action against national governments?

Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission  (15.9.2014)

 

 

Investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is a means of enforcing the limited number of investment protection standards that protect against discrimination, expropriation without compensation and unfair or inequitable treatment (i.e. denial of justice or of due process, coercion, manifest arbitrariness).

The negotiating directives adopted unanimously by the Council state that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should include provisions on investment protection accompanied with ISDS rules, provided that certain conditions are met. If agreed, the relevant TTIP provisions would replace, at EU-level, the nine investment agreements in force between the US and some EU Member States, all of which contain ISDS.

No concrete text proposals on ISDS have been exchanged so far between the parties negotiating the TTIP. The Commission will first evaluate the results of the recently concluded public consultation on investment protection and ISDS in the TTIP, before any negotiations on these in the TTIP takes place.

It should be noted that companies can already take legal actions against governments before international tribunals, such as the European Court of Human Rights. Investors can do this on the basis of a system of ISDS. There are some 1,400 investment agreements including investor-to-state dispute settlement with third countries concluded by EU Member States in force and more than 3,000 such agreements globally containing ISDS.